Digiplexis: A curious name for a beautiful flower

Head of Horticulture, Sonia Uyterhoeven introduces us to this beautiful flower with a strange name: Digiplexis with Lion

When visiting the garden this year, you’ve no doubt noticed the gorgeous, intergeneric hybrid called  ×Digiplexis ILLUMINATION® ‘Flame’ that we planted in pots flanking the front door of the Main House. The curious name will make sense just as soon as I explain its heritage, and wipe away any thought of ’70s disco dancers you may be entertaining at the moment.
Intergeneric hybrids are crosses between closely related genera. A well-known example in the orchid world is ×Laeliocattleya, which is a cross between a Laelia and a Cattleya. In the case of ×Digiplexis, it is a cross between a foxglove (Digitalis) and Isoplexis, which is a shrub-like, short-lived perennial (zone 9 – 11) from the Canary Islands and Madeira.

Isoplexis typically grows up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It has foot-long upright flower spikes that are densely covered with tubular flowers, each a blend of vermillion, rust, and gold. Its common name, cresta de gallo, alludes to the fact that it is reminiscent of a cockscomb. The plant was originally thought to have been pollinated by sunbirds, having since been replaced by Canary Island Chiffchaffs and other warblers.

Digiplexis
When the plants arrived from the nursery in late May, they had a single flower stalk.



Scientists have done research on this genus and found that while it is pollinated by birds, the pollination is infrequent. Isoplexis has an answer for this: the flowers stay open and ready for pollination for several months at a time. This tender perennial will be in bloom throughout the summer in your home garden (June to September or October).

Hybridize Isoplexis with foxgloves (×Digitalis) and you have a long-blooming annual that reaches about 3 feet tall. The long duration of the hybrid’s bloom isn’t due to low pollination frequency, as the hybrid is sterile and doesn’t waste its energy producing seeds.

The vermillion in the blooms is infused with violet from the marriage of the two genera, and the tubular flowers still resemble cockscombs or, if you have a good imagination, a laughing mouth. Combine Isoplexis with the hardier foxglove and you get a short-lived perennial that is hardy to zone 8. The foliage on the hybrid resembles that of the foxglove, and this showstopper is ideal for a container.

IMG_4929
The plants keep on blooming--and now have several flower stalks on each plant.

Fascinating

Sonia Uyterhoeven, our Head of Horticulture introduces us to a fascinating plant growing in one of Longshadow's Munstead planters on the east terrace of the Main House:
Isn’t this lovely? It is Cuphea llavea, or the "bat-faced" cuphea. I have three different types of cuphea growing in the garden. It is a wonderful low maintenance annual/tender perennial that flowers all summer long and is a reliable grower. I am trying this one for the first time and love it. Look closely at the flower and you will see the bat face. The woodchuck sampled it and decided he didn’t like it, so that is good news.  'Bat-faced' cuphea in Longshadow's Munstead planter FB


Three interesting plants in flower this week, June 22

Opuntia humifusa Eastern Prickly Pear
Opuntia humifusa is known as the Eastern Prickly Pear -- yes, a cactus native to the northeast.
Rudebeckia maxima buds
Three buds have formed on this 'giant coneflower', Rudebeckia maxima. It isn't quite in flower yet, but very beautiful anyway.

 

Abutilon megapotamicum Chinese Lantern 2
'Chinese Lantern', Abutilon megapotamicum, grows in a Longshadow Munstead planter beneath the pergolas on the Main Lawn
 
 

Just two of the many beauties in bloom this week:

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This shrub at the east corner of the Main House is a rare one--even Google can find very little written about it: There is no common name for this plant. It's full botanical name (at this point in time at least) is: x Pyracomeles (Pyracantha x Osteomeles) vilmorinii

Here is a description by Lazy S'S Farm Nursery:
Expensive because it's slow to root - 5 months to root a cutting! A hybrid between Pyracantha crenatoserrata (Chinese firethorn) and Osteomeles subrotunda originating in France in 1922 as a chance hybrid.

and by Cistus Nursery:
An interesting, arching cross between Pyracantha crenatoserrata and x Osteomeles subrotunda with small, lobed leaves, deeply cut, and profuse, white flowers followed by pink-red berries. Birds LOVE them. A 3-4' x 4-6', semi-evergreen shrub for a sunny bit of your garden in moist, well-drained soil. Deciduous but frost hardy at the bottom of USDA zone 6 and possibly into zone 5.

This peony is unusual, as well:
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From Perennials.com: Itoh Peonies are rare and unusual hybrids between Garden Peonies and Tree Peonies. There are several varieties, all highly sought after by collectors, yet are easy to grow and very hardy.


From Tony Avent's Plant Delights:
This 1996 Bill Seidel intersectional peony introduction (from Roger Anderson seed), produces large 10" wide flowers that emerge pastel yellow, highlighted by prominent maroon blotches in the center. As the yellow flowers age, they become suffused with light pink that progresses from the petal tips toward the center. Paeonia 'Pastel Splendor' makes a stunning, occasional reflowering, 3' tall, deer-resistant specimen with very sturdy stems, and great heat-tolerance thanks to its tree peony genes.


May 19 thru 26

Chionanthus retusus

Our Executive Director, Liz Johnson took this photo of Chionanthus retusus,
also called "Chinese Fringe Tree"

You can find a photo album of other flowering plants when you click
on the link, "Photo Album - Plants" in the upper right corner.


Front Gate/ Allée:
Tiarella cordifolia 'Delaware'
Tiarella cordifolia 'Octoraro'

Parking Area:
Rhododendron schlippenbachii
Cercis canadensis
Cornus alternifolia
Phlox divaricata 'Blue Moon'
Dicentra eximia
Packera aurea
Rhododendron minus var. carolianum
Cercis canadensis
Halesia tetraptera
Aquilegia canadensis
Halesia tetraptera

Forecourt:
Trillium grandiflorum
Trillium sessile
Iberis sempervirens 'Purity'
Strelitzia
Narcissus ×odorus 'Plenus'
Viola labradorica
Rhododendron makinoi x pachysanthum
Viburnum macrocephalum
Magnolia 'Judy Zuk'
Geranium × 'Rozanne'
Geranium sanguineum var. striatum
Aesculus pavia 'Splendens'
Narcissus 'Stainless'
Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken'

1st Tee and West Walk:
Armeria maritima 'Splendens'
Epimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicum
Neillia sinensis
Magnolia ×wieseneri
Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken'
Halesia tetraptera var. monticola 'Arnold Pink'
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae
Ajuga reptans 'Binblasca' (Black Scallop)
Daff Slope:
Aquilegia vulgaris 'Irish Elegance'- this is more next to the cascade than where the daff's were blooming

Main Lawn:
Corydalis lutea
Lamium maculatum 'Orchid Frost'
Iris germanica 'Immortality'
Iris pallida 'Albo-Variegata'
Iris sibirica 'Nana Alba'
Chionanthus retusus
Geranium × 'Rozanne'

Reflecting Pool Terrace:
Tulipa 'Bleu Aimable'
Helleborus ×hybridus (Obsidian Strain)
Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant- finishing
Narcissus 'Stainless'- finishing
Rhododendron 'Anita Gehnrich'
Rhododendron 'Solidarity'
Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Molly Schroeder'
Viburnum sargentii 'Onondaga'
Viburnum plicatum 'Mary Milton'
Viburnum macrocephalum
Allium aflatunense 'Purple Sensation'
Allium aflatunense
Prunus serrulata ‘ Kwanzan’
Dianthus ×allwoodii 'Frosty Fire'
Dianthus 'Kahori'
Aquilegia 'The Swarm'
Paeonia 'Claire de Lune'
Paeonia 'Cora Louise'
Paeonia 'Chalice'
Heuchera 'Stainless Steel'
Geranium maculatum 'Espresso'
Camassia ×leichtlinii 'Blue Heaven'

Croquet Lawn:
Cornus spp.
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Feng Dan Bai'
Tulipia 'Helmar'
Clematis 'Asao'

Garden of the Zodiac:
Syringa ×laciniata
Cornus spp.
Abelia mosanensis
Vinca
Aruncus dioicus

Summer House & Grape walk:
Aesculus hippocastanum 'Baumannii'
Aesculus hippocastanum
Helleborus ×nigercors 'Green Heron'
Arabis sturii- fading
Geranium macrorrhizum 'Album'

Tea House:
Iris 'Sierra Blue'
Iris sibirica 'China Spring'
Iris ensata
Corydalis ochroleuca
Viburnum rhytidophyllum- fading

Mag Lawn:
Neomarica caerulea

Cascade:
Syringa 'Evangeline'
Helleborus foetidus

Daffodil Slope:
Aquilegia vulgaris 'Irish Elegance'- this is close to the cascade, the daff's were blooming


May 12 thru May 17

This very interesting "Solomon's Seal", Polygonatum kingianum,
can be found growing by the Summer House.

Polygonatum kingianum BLOG
You can find a photo album of other flowering plants when you click
on the link, "Photo Album - Plants" in the upper right corner.

Front Gate and Allée:
Claytonia virginica
Tiarella cordifolia 'Delaware'
Tiarella cordifolia 'Octoraro'
Cercis canadensis 'Pennsylvania Pride Pink Heartbreaker' (Pink Heartbreaker PPAF™)

Around Parking Area:
Rhododendron schlippenbachii
Cercis canadensis
Cornus alternifolia
Phlox divaricata 'Blue Moon'
Dicentra eximia
Packera aurea
Rhododendron minus var. carolianum
Halesia tetraptera

House Forecourt:
Geranium ×cantabrigiense 'St. Ola'
Viburnum macrocephalum f. keteleeri
Trillium grandiflorum
Trillium sessile
Iberis sempervirens 'Purity'
Geum triflorum
Strelitzia
Narcissus ×odorus 'Plenus'
Rhododendron makinoi x pachysanthum
Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk’

East Terrace:
Wisteria

Main Lawn:
Corydalis lutea
Lamium maculatum 'Orchid Frost'
Syringa vulgaris 'Wonder Blue'
Daphne ×transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance'
Exochorda ×macrantha 'The Bride'

West Walk:
Pyrus spp.
Malus spp.
Lamium maculatum 'Shell Pink'
Syringa ×hyacinthiflora 'Annabel'
Syringa oblata subsp. dilatata 'Cheyenne'
Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant'
Ajuga reptans 'Binblasca' (Black Scallop)
Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue'
Brunnera macrophylla
Viburnum ×carlcephalum 'Cayuga'
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae
Halesia tetraptera var. monticola 'Arnold Pink'
Hesperis matronalis
Narcissus tripartite
Rhododendron 'Mary Fleming'
Epimedium pinnatum subsp. colchicum
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae
Neillia sinensis
Aesculus pavia 'Humilis'
Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken'

Reflecting Pool Terrace:
Cercis chinensis f. alba
Aquilegia canadensis 'Little Lanterns'
Aquilegia 'The Swarm'
Viburnum macrocephalum
Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Molly     Schroeder'
Viburnum sargentii 'Onondaga'
Viburnum plicatum 'Mary Milton'
Helleborus ×hybridus (Obsidian Strain)
Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' - finishing
Geranium maculatum 'Espresso'
Narcissus 'Stainless' - finishing
Spiraea fritschiana 'Wilma' (Pink Parasols™)
Chaenomeles ×superba 'Cameo'
Chaenomeles japonica 'Atsuya Hamada'
Chaenomeles 'Scarlet Storm' - (this is a slightly lighter shade of Red than 'Atsuya Hamada')
Rhododendron 'Anita Gehnrich'
Rhododendron 'Solidarity'
Allium aflatunense 'Purple Sensation'
Allium aflatunense
Prunus serrulata ‘ Kwanzan’
Dianthus ×allwoodii 'Frosty Fire'
Dianthus 'Kahori'
Paeonia 'Claire de Lune'
Paeonia 'Chalice'
Tulipa 'Bleu Aimable'
Reflecting Pool:
Camassia ×leichtlinii 'Blue Heaven'

Croquet Lawn:
Cornus spp.
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Feng Dan Bai'
Tulipia 'Helmar' growing at the feet of
    the lions

Garden of the Zodiac:
Syringa ×laciniata
Chaenomeles 'O Yashima'
Trillium erectum

West Woods:
Polemonium reptans

 Summer House/ Grape walk:
Aesculus hippocastanum
Aesculus hippocastanum 'Baumannii'
Helleborus ×nigercors 'Green Heron'
Pulmonaria 'Raspberry Splash '
Pulmonaria 'Majeste'
Arabis sturii
Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilafee'
Athyrium niponicum var. pictum
Athyrium 'Ghost'
Corydalis ochroleuca
Polygonatum kingianum
Trillium grandiflorum 'Flore Plena'
Geranium phaeum 'Samobor'
Geranium macrorrhizum 'Album'

Tea House:
Forsythia sp. -
Helleborus 'Blue Lady'
Tulipa 'Monte Carlo'
Tulipa 'Barcelona'
Tulipa (Beauty Queen™)
Aquilegia sp.
Viburnum rhytidophyllum
Corydalis ochroleuca
Primula aff. Veris
Iris sibirica 'China Spring'

Walk between Tea House and Cascade:
Malus sp.-  finishing

Cascade:
Syringa 'Evangeline'
Helleborus foetidus

'Daff Slope:
Narcissus 'Candy Princess'
 
South Pond:
Narcissus sp.